City of Cleveland faces $469,000 budget shortfall

August 19, 2012 7:50:24 AM PDT
The city of Cleveland is facing a deficit of nearly half a million dollars for the 2012-13 fiscal year, and city council is looking for ways to meet the shortfall.

The council held held a special meeting and budget workshop on Thursday. City Manager Dion Miller said they need to cut spending and increase revenue, which could mean the elimination of some city jobs and an increase on property tax rates.

He recommended eliminating five full-time positions and three part-time positions. According to The Cleveland Advocate, this would save the city approximately $300,000 but would still need to reduce expenses by nearly $200,000 more.

To offset costs, Miller said the city will also need an increase in the tax rate. He said the 10-cent tax rate would need to come up to 78 cents to get the city back in the black. If council does not agree on a tax increase, he said some other services or programs must be sacrificed.

Miller said the city arrived in this financial position by using emergency cash reserves for matching grants for projects. He said officials also underestimated expenses and overestimated revenues from taxes and fees.

Another contributing factor is an upcoming jump in the city's own expenses. In 2003, the city took on about $7.3 million in debt for new buildings and renovations. Payments have increased with each passing year and will increase by $300,000 next year. Miller said such a dramatic increase could have been prevented with better planning of the debt schedule.

Miller is seeking input from city council. More public meetings on the budget are scheduled for August and September. Discussion of the tax rate and final approval of the budget is set for September 25.

Read more on this story in The Cleveland Advocate, one of our Houston Community Newspapers partners.

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